Concept Of Jury Nullification

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The concept of jury nullification is not one that is broadly known or spoken about in the discipline of law. This is because until more recent years the concept was considered a complex subject that garnered plenty of conversation and debate.
To understand the controversy that surrounds this particular area of the law, a definition of jury nullification is in order. It is known that the jury’s role is to act as the unbiased and impartial voice of judgment during the proceedings of a court case. They are required to listen to all sides of the story, examine all facts presented, and are ultimately responsible for reaching a verdict of either guilty or not guilty.
The concept of jury nullification arises when a jury decides to deliberately deem
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Juries are given the power to serve justice in shades of gray, as opposed to just black and white.
Jury nullification is often used when a jury believes that finding the defendant guilty will be unjust, as the sentencing will not fit the unique circumstances surrounding the particular case. As a means to protect the rights of the defendant, the jury declares them not guilty to avoid an unfair sentencing.
To elaborate how this would manifest, an example is fitting. In the case of Darrell v. State of New Hampshire, Darrell Douglas, a practicing Rastafarian man, was arrested and charged with growing fifteen marijuana plants in his backyard. In plain black and white terms, Darrell Douglas was guilty of breaking the law. However, in the gray area of the law, he was a religious man who used marijuana for religious and medical purposes.
As a result, the jury unanimously chose to nullify the case and deemed him “not guilty.” The jury strongly felt that although Darrell Douglas was in fact guilty of an actual crime, he did not deserve the punishment that would result in him being
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This is often because judges disallow the mention of jury nullification in their courtrooms. This is because some judges and other actioners of the law find the concept to be “a gut-punch to Democracy” and an “invitation to anarchy”. The concept is thought to be a violation of the justice system, and, as a result, some judges choose to execute their right to not inform the jury of their right to nullification.
Often, jurors find out about jury nullification through their own research or prior knowledge of the practice. The concept of jury nullification is also gaining a lot of traction in modern media. In a recent case on the popular law-centric TV show How To Get Away With Murder, the lead character, criminal defense lawyer Annalise Keating, shed some light on the practice of jury nullification.
During a case in which a son was being tried for the murder of his cop father who was abusing his mother, Annalise chose to heed the suggestion of one of her student assistants and decided to leak the information of the jury’s right to nullify the case. This, in turn, resulted in the defendant being found “not guilty” by the sympathetic jury, who felt that although the son had committed murder and was without a doubt guilty of committing said crime, he did not deserve to be punished for it. This particular case was extremely sensitive, and the jurors’ verdict acknowledged the emotional intricacies
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